Category Archives: Experimental

7 H.Target – 0.00 Apocalypse

This is a guest post written by reviewer Akerfeldt_Fanboi, and is re-blogged from http://www.metal-archives.com/.

7 H. Target‘s 2012 full-length Fast-Slow Demolition was a refreshing breeze in the stagnate climate of slamming brutal death metal. Each track was an overwhelming chaos of modern Malignancy mixed with a healthy dose of groove and later drenched in Japanese body-horror references, leaving a disgusting record that backed up its slam with proper death metal.
0.00 Apocalypse 
,while still having an equally nonsensical title, pushes the band away from the sampling and body-horror from the debut into a hellish cyber post-apocalypse that seems to move with a thematic continuity between the records.

Likewise, the music evolves. The maelstrom of riffs and breakdowns are dismembered, cauterized, and sewn back together with mechanical precision here – though not to say the debut was incredibly sloppy or amateurish by any degree. Here, however, the performance is nearly robotic in its precision and power. Even with their technical prowess, one of the most impressive aspects of the band was that they reserved their slower moments and slams for special occasions, leaving them for the most climactic points of their career (i.e. “Hara-Kiri Torture Mechanism”) and letting the momentum of that apex propel the rest of the music into a blistering finale. Continuing in that trend, “Technofetishist” represents that same turning point of the album where the nearly nonstop ferocity of the previous tracks grinds to a halt for a grooving junction before turning the dial back up immediately. But this rendition is more intense, less organically disturbing with more imagery of mechanical halls of torture and cybernetic mayhem.

The songs themselves are just that: songs. Unlike many of their peers, this Russian trio writes tunes that have a cohesive feel and flow and stick to your brain for weeks on end and rarely leave without a lasting impression. I know I was desperately trying to play the opening riff of “Meatball Machine Story” for the first few days this album was in my hands. The squeal of harmonics and low-end rumbling all attributes to the inorganic material this album tries to fuse itself with, and in the process the listener is left scarred by the surgeries and attempts at grotesque combinations. These guys know how they want to sound, how pitch-perfect the placement of each groove is, and by God do they execute that idea with a pristine finish.

Every passage strikes the cold, lifeless tone in each slam and half-time before spitting out a stream of brutal death metal. Crunchy, roaring death metal abounds on this album with frequent dips into blasting insanity and endless tremolo that neatly wraps the musical package together into something special. As usual, the drumming of Mikhail is one of the highlights here, with each massive beat of the snare pulling the pieces of each song together into a cohesive whole. The tone of the album is phenomenal, with a clear production that suits the style of the music to the point where it mimics the progression of the band’s lyrical content and concept of a transhumanist future. This, to them, is a vile, detestable future for humanity – or at least the incredible (and sometimes incredibly indecipherable) situations in the songs point to this. For instance “S-94” is a tale of a wasteland of sex addicts preying on any and all women they come across, even ending in a horrible sampled audio at the end with somber music devolving into noise and ending with sadistic laughter.

With every song the band submits the listener to a barrage of hyper-demented slam with an unforgettable twist of production and song-writing quality. They have a keen eye on their direction, clearly, and somehow pull off this brand of metal without forgoing the structure, composition, and quality of their music. From paper to performance, this album is a definite must-buy for any fanatics of the genre and anyone looking to take the final step to total assimilation.

Advertisements

Queen Elephantine – Scarab

1
On “Scarab”, Queen Elephantine commence with quiet precussion, taking their time – moving with patience. Then menacing and dirty, join the bass and guitar, speaking wordlessly of endless despair, while band member Srinivas Reddy gives those a calm yet eerie background ambience using his tanpura(Indian instrument).

In this way the band creates an echo unique to them using only a few instruments. But even more interesting than this reverberating presence is their choice to musically, not “move” much. Instead of reaching for change, they dwell in the shadow they’ve created, looking for something, looking for nothing. Going out of hiding here and there, looking out and seeing reflecting and contrasting elements in the distance. But always returning, remaining in this dark place, in the back of your head, in a place with no light. And embracing what that means. How does that feel? Meditative? dark? sad? Listen below and you’ll have your answer.

The singing on “Veil“, which I almost forgot about since its very sparse, arrives sooner on track two, “Crone“. The praying-like wailing voices plays a role on the album, but the lyrics’ meaning elude me for the most part. One thing can be certain – they carry a certain mournfulness about them as the rest of “Scarab“, sounding like some abstract, associative eulogy. Clocking at 18 minutes, this second piece’s repetitive nature slowly turns from calming to torturous over time, making it very hard not to lose one’s mind – especially with the constantly present buzz of the indian instrument.

Track three, “Snake“, resembles doom metal the most so far in this experimental soundscape. Music-wise it is still unchanging and minimal, so dragging that it feels like time itself is being slowed down. Pretty mental stuff. Looking at the lyrics, these might confirm my guess at the textual concept. Here they are together with my interpretation:

Arms yearning, am I home again (yearning for home – to reach death\god)
Why lie on, won’t you make it out (“make it out” = make the soul exit the body)
And the saints have been here 
But in bliss and not in shame 
Bathed in wine, and not in sand 
Glimmering, glistening, suffering  (describing some kind of a funeral rite)

Simmering, glistening, suffering 
Dirt in my throat  (being buried, covered in earth..)
Drowned in my own (buried near his own – his own people – in a graveyard)
Drawn like a snake  (the dead body being dragged into the grave)
I will swallow it, swallow it (being covered in earth)
I am home again (…)

Scarab” is far, far from being a downright metal record, but is however beyond heavy in the context of its own atmosphere. Plodding, yes, it trudges on endlessly – which some will find tiring, but others might enjoy, and even – ‘not joking – worship, in a sort of cult-following manner. ‘Cause this is some dark art right here. 7/10

You can find the album and purchase it at:
http://queenelephantine.bandcamp.com/album/scarab

Spontaneous Maximus – This Is Spomax

The lead work washing over you like sea waves shining in the sun, in this surreal, dream of a track entitled “Attack of the Giant Noodle”. It’s the start of an album called “This Is Spomax”, by the instrumental group Spontaneous Maximus; a release so “post-” and experimental it makes today’s heavy music sound like an echo of a long lost civilization. These guys can be described as progressive rock\metal, but the interesting thing is they actually go far and away from modern prog formulas, describing themselves as: ”An instrumental journey through metal, jazz, flamenco, Samurai movies, video games, space, forests, tears, silence, trains, fear, anger, contention, honor, bliss, sadness, silliness, optimism, and finally landing on the sandy shores of the unknown.”

Reaching these foreign shores you reach into yourself, entering a self-observation or introspection mode in an attempt to figure out the abstract energy propelled at you and the kind of feelings it invokes. You are then..well, initially weirded out to be honest, if not inclined to alienate yourself from the sight, like diverting your gaze from the blinding sun; because the more you look, the deeper seems the depth of the colliding meanings, clashing together right in front of you. Is it to much to take?

Be ready, ’cause there’s a huge amount of reverberating, enigmatic, complex instrumentation especially on tracks like “The Golden Monocule” and “Party Chips”. Luckily, the band also takes a break from time to time,  for example on the calming, sublime “Traince De Journalier”. It’s a wonderfully peaceful piece that stands on its own, conjuring the image of sitting by a campfire at night, at least ’till “This Is Spomax” kicks back into gear, entering heavier regions of music once again with riffs that resemble a storm on “San Miguel”.

While the band’s musical experimentation may sound a bit off-putting or overbearing to the listener at first, there’s a certain uniform, beautiful color to “This is Spomax” that makes its chaos make sense, so that by the end of it all you feel less disoriented, and actually fascinated. The album closes with a quiet piano outro(“Water”), accompanied by the cries of seagulls – We are again at sea, fittingly returning from which we came from..but now that we are free to leave shore, we suddenly find ourselves appreciating this place, this work of art, and feeling elated by this realization – by our discovery.

Kreator – Endorama

Endorama. Many Kreator fans are rumored to have frowned upon this experimental release, which mixes thrash metal with early goth rock elements and could be called less “heavy’ from the standpoint of a pure metal fan. However, that standpoint -at least in this case – is bullshit. The album shows the band going through an excellent musical and lyrical exploration while not losing their distinct harsh edge. They actually do this by replacing heaviness, in its usual sonic definition, with an atmosphere so heavy it literally drags you into your own personal depths of despair.

The ambiance I’m speaking about is in no way one dimensional, as its ingredients are arranged differently in each track, creating a constant convincing variation, interconnected by one very bleak artistic vision. Put more simply, the range between “quiet” and heavy is wide here, containing both total headbanging material and a more elegant melancholia, furiously injected with outbursts of violent resolution. This ever-changing nature makes it hard for one track to really sum up what this album is about, but the one below can give you a taste of what I’m ramblin’ about:

Soul Eraser

For those who still wish to argue on the quality of this album, I will agree it is no “Extreme Aggression“. This is an alternative path which enables Kreator to express a raw yet multidimensional quality of emotions that cannot be demonstrated using your traditional thrash attack. Sonically speaking, Endorama acts more subtly – like a drug; painting the listener’s world in dark colors, and inviting him into a place where truths can be expressed by much more than ordinary violence – in all their diverse, beautiful, painful(and awesome) forms.

A perfect example of the described above (and perhaps my favorite track) is “Willing Spirit” – a song about one’s unsung longing for a dead lover. It doesn’t just deal with grief, but focuses on its aspects of longing & denial in an almost paranormal manner; A lucid dream which leaves the awakened both mesmerized by a romantic fantasy and torn apart by reality.

While vocalist Mille Petrozza and the band have certainly returned to their crushing thrash metal roots, I still think their experimental era should be re-evaluated by fans both old and new. This is truly a one of a kind, gem of an album!

Nemertines – Bad Blood

With the current unending flood of new Math\Djent metal bands, finding a unique group within this sub-genre can be flat out exhausting. Its takes time, and I keep getting that “more of the same” type of listening experience, but hell, I don’t mean to give up on the search just yet. I believe there’s much untapped potential to be explored in this area of music – and bands like RXYZYXZR are proving that. Today’s post deals with another interesting, yet very different group, which is the experimental act called Nemertines.

This instrumental one-man project has taken Djent, snuffed the life out of its tired and overdone melodic aspirations, and re-infused them as nightmarish dissonance. Its music to scream to – but to no relief, as the listener’s words and thoughts become only echoes inside this harsh, depressing ambiance. However, once the disarray and pain has been caused, a subtle aura of melody will sometimes form beneath the layers of chaos; a dreamy calm surrounded by a cold sonic storm. How does all that actually sounds like? Here’s two tracks off the band’s 2011 album, “Bad Blood“.

In Love : Self-Criticism:

Distressing stuff isn’t it? Personally I find Bad Blood to be refreshing experimental music, but I can also see why this type of morbid experimentation isn’t for everyone. Let me know *your* opinion of it!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the disturbing image on the upper right, that’s the artwork for the band’s 2012 effort, “SCD“. To hear it, you can visit Nemertines on Bandcamp. You may also want to try the Facebook fan page, where the artist has posted download links to all of his material.